In my 67th year, I have just applied for another job. Serendipity has resulted in things coming full circle for me, as you will see in a later installment.
My career began at the age of 14 or 15, when I got a part time job in a bakery, learning the art of making bagels. I had to fish the partially cooked dough circles out of a steaming hot water bath, lay them on long boards, brush them with egg, finish them off with poppy seeds, and slide them into the oven. Many burns (many times) until I learned what the hell I was doing. My first paycheque was $10.85, and my Dad made a copy of it and had it framed.
Onto another part time job as a grocery clerk, bagging and doing carryouts for the customers. Took a couple of bus rides to get there, and then I got fired because I was too slow and dropped too many bottles of pop.
Then, there was a job at a Woolco’s warehouse. It was so far away that my Dad had to drive me there. I don’t think I lasted more than a week or two, then quit because of homesickness.
Between this time and the end of high school in 1968, I helped out sporadically with my parents’ business.
Upon graduation, it was time to get a little more serious, and I landed a full time position with the Borough of North York works department. The many and varied duties that were assigned to me included Sanitation Engineer (garbage man) and maintenance of town properties. One particular week, our crew was working on clearing out a ravine through which a river ran. It was choked with junk of all kinds, and the hillsides had become a dumping ground. I had made friends with a fellow by the name of Andy, and we were usually assigned as a pair. We were working on the slope, picking up refuse and tossing or rolling it down to the bottom to be incinerated in a large bonfire later. I picked up a heavy wooden headboard, and, after checking if all was clear below, gave it a heave. It started rolling rapidly end over end down the steep slope when, out from behind a tree stump stepped my buddy. It got him square in the head and knocked him down. You can imagine my horror. I ran down the hill to get him, and he sat up, none the worse for wear except for a good bump and cut on his scalp line. We got him attended to, and I was astonished and grateful that he did not hold a grudge against me for the incident. A few days later, Karma came around and got me. The two of us were carrying a large stump over to the fire, when Andy tripped and dropped his end, resulting in my end coming up and hitting me square in the mouth. Several teeth were loosened and went through my lip, and to this day I can’t grow a proper moustache over the scar.
Next: Bad Boy and beyond (Working Life installment 2)